By Laurie Foster,

Foster’s Fumes was drawn to attention by a contribution to the 2016 Gibson McCook Relays (GMR) Magazine. The publication commemorates the 40th staging of the spectacle, due this coming weekend (Saturday, February 27) at the National Stadium. Hopefully, the result of the General Elections, two days prior, will see a happy merger of both political camps. Fulfillment of that thought, will create a satisfactory backdrop to an event, universally accepted for its prestige and panache.

The stunning highlight in the GMR publication, that grabbed the interest of this columnist, was authored by 1964 Tokyo Olympian, Dr. Patrick Robinson. You guessed it, a distinguished son of Fortis soil. He addressed the inestimable value and importance of volunteerism that drives the execution and brands the success of the Stadium-swelling spectacle. The views expressed by the medical man, in the article, titled “Volunteerism – the unsung hero in Jamaica’s track and field,” spoke to the impressive impact created on the global front. He addressed the many “causative factors, which glare at you” and added that other factors, though critical, e.g. volunteerism, largely go unnoticed.”

Foster’s Fumes, as a seasoned sports journalist has been privileged to cover a multitude of events on foreign soil. The spirit and service offered by those who volunteer is at the heart of the success or lack of it, coming from staging. For the GMR, it serves as a model in areas that its founder, Neville “Teddy” McCook embraced as a main plank of his personal brand. For his work, the organizing committee, in their wisdom and to their eternal credit, added his name to the title, for the 39th edition, last year. McCook’s detractors will speak of his far too rigid and uncompromising adherence to principles. However, come the last day of February, each year, they form a part of the cohort, out to add their own undiluted effort to another successful staging. This is the essence of volunteerism, in the view of this journalist. It is so essential, in looking at the wider picture, to give and not count the cost.

Dr. Robinson summed up his thoughts on his main topic, with “Volunteerism, though lost in the glare of other factors, and mostly taken for granted, nonetheless is a key ingredient in the formula for Jamaica's success in world athletics. Foster’s Fumes endorses the sentiment.

There are other thoughts put forward by Dr. Robinson that highlight the reasons for the country’s mounting brilliance in the sport of Athletics. Therein lies how the GMR and the tremendous work of McCook fit into the equation. Foster’s Fumes commends the Doctor for his insight, as it places the contribution of volunteers, making a crucial suggestion at the end to meet planners.

For the excitement and energy it offers, all lovers of track and field along with those interested in nation building through sports, should be at the National Stadium this weekend.

Laying hands on a copy of the souvenir magazine is a must.

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